Nikki Blackall – Q&A

Interview: Jason Mousseau

Hey Nikki! How’s it going? Where are you at these days?

Hellooo! I’m doing well, thank you!

I just got back from a little trip to Whistler a couple weeks ago. Got some amazing slushy park laps in, got to work on a bit of stuff and ski with friends, so it was sweet! I’m currently at home, in Barrie, Ontario catching up with friends and fam and also just started up again at work for the summer.

9Q2016 👑 @nineknights @oneillnorthamerica @oneillwomens

A photo posted by Nikki Blackall (@nikkaaaay) on

Where are you working this summer? What other plans do you have for the off-season? I’m working at a Golf Course! I’ve been there for a few years now. Getting to work outside all summer selling beer and snacks isn’t too bad. It’s pretty chill, haha. I plan to get some skiing in this summer as well, I think we’re trying to figure out a trip to Perisher in August which is going to be super sweet. I’ve never been to Australia but have always wanted to go!

Willow Smith and I could be the best of friends. #malak photo #ninequeens @nineknights A photo posted by Nikki Blackall (@nikkaaaay) on

The first time we met you was when you were volunteering at iF3 back in… You’ve come a long way since then! Tell us a bit about that journey.

That was back in 2012! iF3 was such a fun event that really gets you stoked for the season, so I’m really sad to hear that it’s over 🙁

But anyways, that was my second year competing. I skied with the Ontario Park & Pipe team and that’s when I started to get a taste of what it was like competing in contests with more than just two or three girls at my local hill! I was loving getting to travel around North America and be able to ski sweet courses and different parks. I road tripped down to Killington with my Mom for my first ever Dew Tour, which was also my first contest of the season and unfortunately I ended up tearing my ACL, so that season came to an end real quick.

After surgery and rehabbing my knee for nine months I was back skiing and felt better than ever! I took my time getting back into it but my knee felt really good and I was super happy. I graduated high school that year (with a nice scar down my leg at prom) so the next winter I got to ski every day! It was so nice being able to just ski and not have to stress about school or anything, I could really just focus on doing what I love and putting in my 100%.

I eventually ended up making the Canadian team and I’ve been skiing with them for just over two years now. It’s been really amazing getting to travel the world and ski some of the best jumps and rail set ups I’ve ever seen! It’s great being able to compete against so many girls that are so good, it really pushes you to try new stuff and motivates you to be your best. I really love competing with these girls, everyone is so supportive and truly get stoked when we learn a new trick or make something look styley.

To say the least, I am so thankful for where I’ve ended up with skiing and I can’t wait for what the future holds!

What has been the biggest obstacle you faced getting where you are today?

The biggest obstacle for me has definitely been injuries. Unfortunately, it’s a little hard to avoid in skiing but holy it sucks when you get hurt and know you’re gonna be out for a bit. Tearing my knee definitely sucked, but it really made me realize how important it is to take care of your body and go to the gym to make sure your knees can take the impact of jumps and stuff. It’s always the worst getting hurt but it’s super rewarding getting back on skis and feeling confident and strong after an injury. In the end, it’s worth it!

The last rail of 2015 .. Today was saweeeet! 📷: @matthewwaring A photo posted by Nikki Blackall (@nikkaaaay) on

Who are some skiers that have inspired you throughout your career?

Sarah Burke. We have so much to thank her for and she has always been my biggest inspiration. I’ve looked up to Sarah since I first started skiing and was always blown away at how big she would go or the tricks she would throw down. She’s done so much for all of the ladies in freeskiing and I am so grateful to have had such a beautiful and talented person to make women’s freeskiing happen.

Megan Gunning is also an inspiration to me. I met Meg a couple years ago, we lived together for a week and we clicked right away. She is such a positive person and is so passionate about skiing, and I honestly think passion can get you so far. It’s really nice to be around someone who motivates you to be your best. Not to mention, I think she’s the styliest chick I’ve ever seen ride a halfpipe.

What was it like skiing with and competing against skiers you once looked up to?

It sucks. They’re too good.

Haha no I’m kidding, they’re amazing skiers and getting to compete against girls like Kaya and Keri, for example, is really awesome because they are the girls who have shown us all how it’s done since the start. I’ve watched them in X Games since I was young and being able to ski with them is really inspiring!

It’s pretty cool that there’s a new generation of lady skiers in the contest world and we’re all friends with the chicks who started everything. I love how the ski community is so tight and I’m grateful to be apart of such a rad group of girls.

How does it feel to be an inspiration to other females in and outside of the sport?

It’s such a great feeling!

When little girls come up to you just to chat chat or even Instagram messages asking if I’ll answer questions for a project they’re doing in school. It’s so rewarding and warms my heart to know that there are girls that are inspired by you doing something you love.

What do you think female influencers in the sport can do to get more women skiing, and continuing the sport as they grow up?

I think that there could definitely be a lot more events just for girls.

Something like Nine Queens but for a more beginner level. Nine Queens does such an amazing job focusing on building a perfect shaped and sized jump that it makes it comfortable for girls to hit it and learn new stuff. I think if there was an event with a similar idea, just smaller jumps and rails it would definitely get girls stoked to ski.

Bringing together a group of girls always makes for positive vibes, good times and inspiration!

We got to ski pow today!!!#secondBDOML #dreamteam ft @daniaassaly & @anna_segal (our guides)

A photo posted by Nikki Blackall (@nikkaaaay) on

What male events do you think are doing a good job of creating this type of atmosphere?

Nine Knights, B&E Invitational and West Coast Sessions

You are right where you’re supposed to be 🗻💖 A photo posted by Nikki Blackall (@nikkaaaay) on

What is the biggest deterrent for young girls in becoming freeskiers? And continuing in the sport as they grow up? What can be done about that?

Skiing definitely isn’t cheap. I think one of the things that could hold girls back is the cost of skis, lift passes and all the necessities. Although, it is possible to get a job and if you get lucky, hopefully they can work with your schedule and give you a bit of time to ski! Also, I know of a lot local shops and reps are always down to support riders from the area and kids who love to shred. All these things make it possible!

And again with the injuries.. I know for sure that that’s a huge deterrent for young girls because that stuff’s scary! No one wants to get hurt and no parent wants to see their kid get hurt either. In my opinion, going to the gym and listening to your body will prevent a lot of injuries. And also wearing a helmet! I used to get in shit any time my Mom saw a pic of me without a helmet, haha. So I always wear one now. Definitely makes it a lot more safe when you protect your head.

Talk to us about skiing versus skiing professionally

Hmmm.. Honestly if you love skiing, getting to do is professionally is such privilege! You get to do something you love every day and focus 100% on just that. Of course, it comes with committing lots of time to training camps and all other team events. As well as spending the small amount of off season we have in the gym to be ready for next season.

One thing that I definitely am so grateful for is being able to travel the world. Competing brings you to so many amazing places, it’s definitely one of the many perks that come with skiing now!

Any advice for those trying to make a career in skiing?

Be patient.

Put in the time.

Don’t lose your love for it. I think passion has the capability of taking you farther than anything.

Who are three up-and-comers we should be keeping our eye on?

Gillian Golosky, Elena Gaskell & Teagan Bruns

And any last words?

Shout out to O’Neill, Salomon, Giro and Full Tilt, Gates & Boards, Team Canada and my Mom for all the support. You guys are amazing and I wouldn’t be here without any of you!

Speaking of sponsors, would you mind us asking what they are bringing to the table?

These days, budgets are really tight and it’s hard to get sponsors so I could not be more thankful for all of the support my sponsors give me, whether it be product, a lil moula $$$ or expenses, it’s such a huge help.

Who in the industry needs to step their game up?

Haha. I’m not here to create drama. I’m just here to ski.